Punkin Chunkin Registration Opens for New Machines - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Punkin Chunkin Registration Opens for New Machines

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BRIDGEVILLE, Del. - After a two-year hiatus, Punkin Chunkin is set to return to Delmarva, and on Wednesday registration opened up for new chunkers, looking to splatter their way into the history books. 

Chuck Burton was one of the founders of the bizarre event in 1986, and said that he is thrilled to see it returning to Sussex County where it started. 

"It’s Sussex County-born you know," he said. "Born right in Lewes, Del. First Town, First State. And we always wanted to keep it in Sussex County. That’s where the World Champion Punkin Chunkin will always be."

The fate of this year's event was not always so clear though. The last event was held in 2013, but was canceled the following year due to a lawsuit filed by someone injured in an ATV accident at the event. In 2015 the event was canceled once again, despite tentative plans to move the event to Dover. 

Punkin Chunkin President Frank Payton said that insurance has already been secured for this year's event, and all is set and ready to go. 

“It’s been a roller coaster ride right up to this time," he said. "But now things are smoothing itself out. And we’re just sitting back and all the things are getting together."

Payton said that 98 chunkers have returned for this year's competition, leaving 17 spots for newcomers. In just the first 24 hours, Payton said that about 15 people have applied for a spot. That included the application for the "Chunka From Down Unda II," from Australia. 

One big change this year relates to the method of alcohol distribution, according to Payton. He said that the event will now have vendors selling alcohol, rather than the BYOB system of the past. 

"The whole term - "the drunk chunk” needs to go away..." he said. "When I grew up with Punkin Chunkin starting in 1993, it was a family-friendly fun type of atmosphere."

In 2013, Punkin Chunkin attracted 30,000 people, and raised more than $175,000 for charities and scholarships. The festivities get underway on Nov. 4 at the Wheatley Farm in Bridgeville.

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